Did you know that this year, ‘Fertility Week’ falls between the 2nd and 5th of November? There’s therefore never going to be a more appropriate time to look at some of the issues couples face when it comes to getting pregnant. There are (unfortunately) a high number of fertility problems we can discuss. However due to length and complexity we are opting to dedicate this article to male infertility issues in the context of a male/female couple. We hope that it helps to shed some light on some of the causes of infertility, but also serves to highlight the fact that whatever you or a loved one is going through, they aren’t alone.
What is male infertility?
We know that very often, when we think of fertility issues in a heterosexual relationship it’s usually the female that is thought to be responsible for the lack of pregnancy. Whilst this is likely simply down to the fact that the female will eventually carry the baby, this kind of thinking has to change. In fact, males are actually the cause of over a third of infertility cases due to problems with their sperm. Worryingly, with the sperm count in males living in the Western world dropping year on year, issues surrounding male infertility aren’t going anywhere. Enhancing our current understanding will help us to elucidate the reasons why and help when it comes to developing new treatments.
It’s important to bear in mind that infertility doesn’t automatically mean that pregnancy is an impossibility. Rather, we should think of infertility as making the route to becoming pregnant that little bit more challenging.
Possible causes for male infertility
Male infertility issues surrounding sperm can affect both production and delivery. There could be problems with the shape, mobility and sperm not being able grow to their full size. Conversely, sperm production is just fine and instead the problem lies in getting them where they need to go. Here, the male may experience blockages of certain vessels or could find that when ejaculating sperm moves backwards instead of forwards. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the causes of male infertility. If you’d like to read more, we recommend this article by the Urology Care Foundation
Being able to pinpoint the exact reason as to why male infertility is present is no mean feat. As with everything in life, striking the right balance is crucial. The inability to successfully fall pregnant could be down to a number of factors. These include our genetics, levels of reproduction-related hormones and environment/lifestyle factors too. There are also certain choices men can make that could have a negative impact on fertility including smoking and alcohol intake to name a couple! Armed with this knowledge, we can consequently take educated ‘guesses’ as to the cause of infertility in any one individual.
Diagnosing male infertility and treatment
It’s not a straightforward process when it comes to diagnosing male infertility. This isn’t that surprising when you consider that there’s no one reason why this condition develops. Added to that, the fact that every cause is different adds an additional layer to overcome when trying to obtain a diagnosis.
If a couple is struggling to conceive, investigations can start. These include the physical examination of male semen along with the compilation of the patient’s medical history. The practitioner will then be able to better understand the reason for infertility. The next step is devising an effective treatment plan for that particular individual.
Treatments may or may not involve surgery – the outcome of this will depend on the requirement of the patient. In cases where a non-surgical approach is deemed appropriate, medication and/or hormones may be prescribed. Certain reproductive procedures may also be undertaken – some of which you may already have heard of. The most well-known of these is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), where pregnancy is attained via a non-sexual method. The treatment decided upon will depend on a range of factors and should always be on professional advice.
Infertility and The Healing Place
Here at The Healing Place I offer a holistic therapy called ReproReflexology. This is suitable for targeting and optimising both male and female fertility. This is also a very relaxing and calming treatment which can help with balancing hormones. And let’s face it, being in a calm state of mind as a default won’t do you any harm either! ReproReflexology can help you and your body prepare for pregnancy and give you the best possible start on your pregnancy journey too.
You can find out more about this (and all the other) therapies on offer right here on my website. I’m also a member of the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, so you know that you can trust any therapies you receive from me. If you’d like to get in touch, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07740 473987. You can also contact me via my Facebook or Instagram pages.